Temple Israel of Great Neck honored Cantor Raphael Frieder for 25 years of service to the congregation with a gala dinner dance attended by more than 300 congregants and admirers.
Before the dinner, a number of noted cantors joined him for a concert in his honor. “When Cantor Frieder was told he would be the dinner honoree, he decided to show his appreciation by inviting cantors from other congregations—his closest colleagues and friends—to join him in this outstanding concert,” said Sam Husney, who chaired the concert portion of the program.
The concert featured cantors Magda Fishman of Temple Beth El of Stamford, CT; Dov Keren of New York’s Sutton Place Synagogue; Henry Rosenblum of the Forest Hills Jewish Center; Elizabeth Shammash of Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell, PA; and Sol Zim of the Hollis Hills Jewish Center.
The performers were joined by Cantor Lauren Phillips, who grew up at Temple Israel and received training from Cantor Frieder, is a graduate of the Temple Israel schools and now serves as the cantor for Congregation Sinai in Milwaukee, WI.
Also joining them was Daniel Frankel, another graduate of the congregation’s schools, who has performed in many Temple Israel plays.
“[The concert featured] the important music in my life,” said Cantor Frieder, who said that his selections were based on things that had something to do with his history as well as music that has inspired him through the years and has had an impact on his career. The program included a wide range of music, combining light chazanut, opera and Broadway music. Because the concert was on Yom Yerushalayim, an Israeli holiday marking the reunification of Jerusalem, Israeli music was also an important part of the program.
The cantor was born in Israel and studied singing and choral conducting in Tel Aviv. He served as a paratrooper with the Israeli Army before embarking upon a career in Jewish music. He has performed with the New Israeli Opera as well as with all of Israel’s major orchestras. Cantor Frieder has toured extensively in Israel, Europe and the United States, and has worked with some of the world’s leading conductors. He has served as the cantor at Temple Israel since 1991 and also teaches chazanut at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
“What made it all so rewarding throughout these 25 years are the people,” said Cantor Frieder. “You have opened your hearts to me, and allowed me to be part of your lives. You did it by being with me at services and holidays, and joining in the journey of prayer by singing with me. You did it by trusting me to teach your children, preparing them for their bar or bat mitzvah or working with them in the children’s choir. And, of course, I’ve enjoyed singing at hundreds of weddings, and mourned the loss of beloved family members with so many
The dinner dance was chaired by Susan and Bob Lopatkin and Rebecca and Sassan Sassouni, along with a large number of congregants, who helped plan the event.
Temple Israel of Great Neck, the region’s largest Conservative Jewish congregation, is an egalitarian synagogue that offers programs and events for all ages, and operates a nursery school, religious school and the Waxman High School and Youth House.